My team of student-researchers and I have developed a large-scale corpus of spoken Spanish, collected in my sociolinguistics laboratory at Boston University. We are studying speech data, reading passages, and questionnaire results from the perspective of variationist sociolinguistics. These data will help answer questions about language maintenance and attitudes — who speaks Spanish with whom, when, and why? — as well as questions about language change and stability — how is Spanish spoken in Boston and how does it compare to that of other communities?
This research, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (BCS-1423840), examines a range of variable linguistic phenomena in order to assess the possibility that language and dialect contact are promoting the emergence of a Boston Spanish speech community. At present, the research team has interviewed approximately 200 Bostonians, making our corpus among the largest of its kind.
Our work has produced several academic publications (including several co-written with students). It has also been the focus of media meant for a general audience:
- A TEDx talk that summarizes some of the study’s findings (see below).
- An article in the Boston Globe.
- An interview on WGBH’s Under The Radar.
- A written piece in WBGH’s local news section.
- An article about the project in BU’s online daily newspaper BU Today.
I am currently working on a book related to the project. Below are links to recorded lectures I have given that relate to Spanish in Boston.
1. TEDx Middlebury College
2. Plenary – Georgetown University Round Table
3. NWAV 49 – University of Texas at Austin